US and UK Governments Allegedly Hacked SIM Manufacturer

A major manufacturer of SIM cards, Gemalto , was hacked by US and British intelligence agencies in order to steal codes and facilitate eavesdropping on mobile phones, according to Intercept . Netherland-based firm Gemalto is a leader in mobile security, and has said it takes the accusations “very seriously and will devote all resources necessary to fully investigate and understand the scope” of the alleged hacking. Among Gemalto’s clients are AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint, all four of America’s large mobile networks, along with around 450 other mobile network providers around the world. The hack was supposedly carried out by Britain’s GCHQ and America’s National Security Agency during 2010, in an effort to secretly monitor both voice and data transmitted across the world’s cellular communications. It would have given the agencies a backdoor into information stored on the chips without the need for a warrant or wiretap, and left no trace that communications had been intercepted. The alleged hack was disclosed in documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. “There have been many reported state sponsored attacks as of late, that all have gained attention both in the media and amongst businesses,” said a spokesperson for Gemalto. “This truly emphasises how serious cyber security is in this day and age.”

[via Mobile Marketing Magazine]

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Apple Reportedly Delays February 24th Media Event

In recent weeks, speculation has been hot and heavy that Apple would hold a late February media event to both roll out new products and give the world one final demo of Apple Watch before the eagerly anticipated wearable ships in April. But with less than a week to go before the rumored February 24th media event, Apple is yet to distribute invites to the press — something Apple always does at least one week in advance of a public product showcase. So what’s behind the delay? Sources close to Apple cite a myriad of factors. First, Apple’s purportedly enterprise-targeted iPad — the “iPad Pro” — might not yet be ready for prime time. The same may also be true of the next MacBook that’s been in the works for some time now. More realistically, however, Apple just isn’t ready for preorders of Apple Watch to commence. We’re told Apple wants to use its next media event as a launch pad for preorders. And with the device not shipping for another 6 to 8 weeks, it’s likely Apple is going to hold its next event two weeks prior to the first wave of shipments so that preorders can effectively commence the day following Apple’s media presentation.

[via Mobile Marketing Watch]

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Shell on the Road Towards Mobile Payments

Energy and petrochemical firm Shell has announced a partnership with PayPal aimed at bringing a mobile payments solution to petrol station forecourts across the UK later this year. The companies hope the solution will represent a new level of choice and convenience for consumers, who will be able to pay for fuel from their car using an app on their smartphone or tablet. Shell plans for the solution to be introduced to the vast majority of its 1,000 service stations across the country, with customers able to use either the Shell Motorist app or the PayPal app to pay. After driving into the forecourt, customers will simply select the corresponding pump on the app, which authenticates the transaction and issues a receipt once refueling is complete. The solution was trialled in 2013, and will be piloted by Shell Drivers’ Club members in April, with plans for a nationwide rollout later in the year. “We’re committed to providing a fast, safe and secure service,” said Michael Hominick, retail marketing manager for retail at Shell UK. “We’ve listened to our customers and know they will benefit from this innovation. They will now have the flexibility and convenience of paying without having to leave their car. Those who want to go in store and pay or purchase other items will still be able to, with the benefit of reduced queues. “This is an exciting development for Shell. We believe that by working with a trusted brand like PayPal this new service will positively impact our service stations by delivering the security, choice and convenience UK motorists are after.”

[via Mobile Marketing Magazine]

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Almost 30 per cent of African Mobile Users on Android

African nations are currently seeing some of the fastest growth in mobile adoption in the world, as the continent transitions from feature phones to smartphones and tablets. In fact, 30 per cent of the mobile phone-using population are now using Android smartphones. While Africans are still more likely to be using a feature phone than the average global consumer, those who have switched to smartphones average twice the mobile web usage of feature phones users, according to figures from Opera Mediaworks . There are several strong sub-markets across Africa, with page views and data consumption highest in Southern African (South Africa and Namibia), Middle Africa (Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo) and Northern Africa (Sudan and Egypt), where both stats are close to the global average. Social networking is increasingly popular across African nations, with South African users consuming many more pages of social-media content per user than the average, meaning advertising content on these sites has an especially wide reach. The app market is still relatively small across Africa, with only about 5 per cent of ad traffic in Africa coming from mobile apps. However, as more users adopt smartphones, this is likely to increase substantially, and with app traffic tending to monetise better than web traffic, there are large opportunities in African markets.

[via Mobile Marketing Magazine]

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